Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 9, 2018

APCO and FirstNet.  The busiest booth at the APCO conference in Las Vegas was by far the FirstNet booth. There was plenty of great activity on the show floor, but the exhibit area was smaller than in previous years simply because APCO has changed over the 30-plus years I have been a member. It is now much more of a dispatch/PSAP-focused organization. To be sure, those who run and work in Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and dispatch centers are vital to the world of public safety, but APCO’s roots were broadly based on communications in the field, from the dispatch center out.

Both the exhibit floor and the comments I heard while walking it reflect this change. Yes, Motorola, Harris, JVCKenwood/EFJohnson, and Icom were still there with their booths and products but many of the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) vendor companies are no longer showing their wares at APCO. FirstNet and companies that are FirstNet partners were there in place of these vendors. In the FirstNet booth there were demonstrations from Sonim, Sierra Wireless, Cradlepoint, ESChat, RapidDeploy, and more. Time and time again those who were exhibiting told me they did not think anyone walking the floor had purchase decision-making authority.

Unlike in the past, there were only a few tower, antenna, and LMR-associated companies. Several times I was asked why the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the 911 organization, and APCO don’t simply merge and be done with it. APCO has changed and if it was not for FirstNet as a major sponsor, I am not sure the show could survive. The focus of APCO is now more dispatch and PSAP-oriented but I was not blown away by Next-Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) vendors on the show floor either. NG911 is the next big thing to happen to public safety communications after FirstNet. In reality, the two should have been planned and executed together since both NG911 and FirstNet are based on broadband technologies. However, the feds only saw fit to dribble out a little funding to NG911 and many of the states are still skimming 911 revenue off for their own, non-911 use. Read the Entire Post Here. Continue reading

NPSTC Reps Stress Need for Retaining Public Safety Spectrum

LAS VEGAS — Representatives of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council yesterday stressed the importance of the public safety community retaining access to the T-band, 4.9 gigahertz band, and 6 GHz band in the face of attempts to take the frequencies away from first responders.

During a session here yesterday at the APCO 2018 show, Don Root, chair of NPSTC’s Spectrum Management Committee, noted that public safety groups and agencies are concerned that Congress mandated in 2012 that the T-band, which is used heavily by public safety in 11 major markets, be reallocated and auctioned by 2021 and incumbents be relocated by 2023. The T-band encompasses TV channels 14-20 (470-512 megahertz).

Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to repeal the T-band reallocation mandate (TR Daily, Feb. 27 and Aug. 2).

Mr. Root also noted that public safety is already fighting to convince the FCC not to reallocate the 4.9 GHz band for commercial use and to protect public safety operations in the 6 GHz band from interference.

“The fear is that the FCC has already made up its mind in taking the 4.9 [GHz band] away from public safety, but I think we’ve done a really good job” in explaining why that would be harmful to public safety, said NPSTC board Chair Ralph Haller.

Mr. Haller also cited what he said would be the “devastating impact” of public safety losing access to both the T-band and 4.9 GHz band

In initial comments filed last month (TR Daily, July 9) in response to a sixth further notice of proposed rulemaking seeking views on ways to promote more intensive use of the 4.9 GHz band (TR Daily, March 22), NPSTC said it “supports managed sharing of the band with Critical Industries Infrastructure (CII) entities and opposes reallocation and auction of the band for commercial use. Reallocation of the band would be very detrimental to public safety and likely would not be very productive for commercial carriers. The Commission’s calculation that no more than 3.5% of the potential licensees use the band apparently has created the misimpression that very little of the band’s capacity is in use, an inaccurate picture of the current public safety reliance on the band.”

During yesterday’s session, NPSTC representatives updated the audience on other work of the federation’s committees and working groups.

For example, an LMR-LTE integration working group is finalizing a report with policy recommendations to manage mission critical push-to-talk user IDs. The report is a follow-on to a report released earlier this year (TR Daily, Jan. 10).

Also, the public safety Internet of things working group is “[f]inalizing review of use cases which illustrate public safety use of IoT systems by law enforcement, fire, EMS and secondary responders[,] including interaction and data sharing with Smart Buildings,” according to a presentation at yesterday’s meeting. The working group is “[h]ighlighting common themes among the use cases[,] including the need for data validity, data standardization, cyber security, management and consolidation of data streams,” it added. This fall, the working group “will start work on an education and outreach document that will raise awareness of critical issues for public safety agencies as they consider adoption of IoT solutions.”

Meanwhile, the EMS working group is “[f]inalizing [a] report recommending that EMS agencies evaluate their procedures regarding notification to hospitals during transport of patients with time sensitive medical emergencies (e.g. heart attack, trauma, stroke, sepsis).”

The cross border working group plans to submit a final draft report to the NPSTC board next month that will provide “guidance to PSAPs along the U.S. Canadian border on how to access customer account and location data that resides with a commercial carrier in the other country.”

For its part, the channel naming working group is working to complete “a report examining public safety interoperability issues with LTE Mission Critical Push to Talk[.] An initial conclusion is that interoperability will be managed at the state, regional, and local levels rather than the national level. The report is expected to be presented to the NPSTC board later this year and it will then go to the First Responder Network Authority’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). —Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 2, 2018

FirstNet and Video Surveillance.  Many of my Public Safety Advocates start out when I am asked a question that gets me thinking. This Advocate began when a good friend of mine who owns a company that specializes in all sorts of surveillance and stakeout communications equipment called to ask if FirstNet would permit agencies to use fixed surveillance cameras over the FirstNet network. His question was prompted by one of his customers who was using hidden video cameras disguised as items you would normally see on a street. I do not have an official reply to the question but the issue certainly needs to be explored and carefully examined.

These High Definition (HD) cameras, which use a lot of bandwidth, are being used on both Verizon and AT&T LTE commercial networks and while they are used only on-demand, they are still fixed and in operation for four to six hours at a time. This agency has experienced its video streams being reduced to slower speeds after only an hour or two. The agency wants to move these devices to FirstNet but needs to know if FirstNet would accept them being on the air from fixed locations. I have sent this query up to the FirstNet folks but have not yet heard back. I suspect the answer will be the same as on the commercial networks because the cameras are at fixed locations.

FirstNet was designed to provide data and video services to public safety and it has always been part of the plan to enable video feeds to and from incidents while they are happening. However, fixed HD video is another story and could prove political for FirstNet even with all the AT&T spectrum available to FirstNet users. Video is used during incidents. Dash and body cams generally record video and only send it out on a broadband network during an incident where it is important for others to observe in real time. Most fixed cameras in cities and elsewhere are connected via fiber or, in some cases, wirelessly using 4.9-GHz spectrum. At the moment, this spectrum is available only to public safety but if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has its way, it may end up as shared spectrum.

Read the Entire Post Here Continue reading

The Future of Police Radio, Police Mag Article Featuring Jason Matthews and Sheriff Grinnell

First responder cellular communications are expected to present a challenge to mission critical radio systems in the future, but it’s not time to switch over yet.

Sgt. Jason S. Matthews, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management Bureau | E-911 Communications, and Peyton C. Grinnell, Sheriff.  Read article here:



Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, July 26 2018

FirstNet NOT Operational?  According to an article in Radio Resources’ MissionCritical Communications, a court case brought by two Vermonters question why the government has failed to inform the court that FirstNet was operational as it stated it would in a previous agreement. Government lawyers in U.S. District Court argue that even though the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) is in place and operational, that is only one-half of the equation, the other half being the build-out of the Radio Access Network (RAN), which the federal attorneys are claiming to mean Band 14 spectrum only.

It might come as a surprise to the approximately 1,500 agencies that are up and running on FirstNet that federal lawyers assert that the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) won’t be deemed complete until Band 14 is built. If these two had only taken the time to understand wireless broadband or talk to those who do, they might have discovered that there is no wireless broadband network in the world that the service provider would tell you is “finished.” Networks are never finished. Today, all of the network operators are adding more wide-area and in-building coverage and are starting to roll out 5G small cells.

The idea that the federal government can declare the network fully operational only when Band 14 is built out does not consider the fact that today’s FirstNet is not only about Band 14 spectrum. In its RFP response, AT&T offered up and placed in service all its LTE spectrum and has stated over and over that 5G will be added to the mix as it is deployed. The criteria should not be based on Band 14, it should be about how and where the network is operational. There are still areas where FirstNet (Built by AT&T) is having to build out more sites, and areas where it makes sense to use Band 14, but there are other areas where it is possible that Band 14 will not be needed because the AT&T LTE spectrum is sufficient for use by both public safety and AT&T paying customers.  Read the Entire Post Here

Here are the articles I have selected with the help of Discovery Patterns artificial intelligence

AT&T Deploys Band 14 Spectrum in FirstNet Build

Via Satellite Jul 23 18:25

Read More

AT&T is deploying public safety’s Band 14 spectrum as part of its FirstNet build. The build out will be validated by the First Responder Network … Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, July 19, 2018

FirstNet Potpourri

The first item of interest for FirstNet and its rural customers should be the progress on H.R. 3994. If passed by Congress and signed into law, this bill will provide a new government oversight organization that will hopefully establish a pool of all existing grants and low-cost broadband loans being offered by government agencies including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA, Broadband USA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and others. A few weeks ago I indicated that FirstNet should be an active participant in this new agency or whatever they decide to call it. I suggested that this agency should be structured like the FirstNet Authority, which is an Independent entity with its own board of directors and can work on public/private partnerships. This has worked well for FirstNet and has enabled it to move forward somewhat faster than a typical government entity.

Further, I think this organization should only hire people experienced in broadband deployments (fiber, microwave, and various forms of wireless) and who understand the economics of engineering and building out successful broadband systems. They should also understand that a grant to simply build a network without any follow-on to keep it running (maintenance, insurance, leases, power, etc.) is a waste of time. While AT&T is required to build out FirstNet in rural areas, it is also charged with maintaining, upgrading, and even expanding it over the course of the next 25 years.

H.R. 3994 was moved out of the sub-committee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to the full committee on June 13, 2018. On July 12, 2018, which is lightening fast for committee action, it was ordered by a voice vote of the full committee to be reported. This means it will now go the entire House for a vote. If it is passed and sent to the Senate, it too, will hopefully pass the bill in record time. Then instead of having various agencies with their different grants, deadlines, and guidelines, and some agencies favoring fiber-only solutions while some understand the last mile is best served by wireless, everyone will be under one roof run by people who live and breathe broadband. The organization will understand that the FirstNet requirement for rural broadband build-out provides many opportunities for additional broadband sites and services to be coordinated, combined, or built to interface with FirstNet (Built by AT&T).

Read the Entire Post Here Continue reading

From the FCC Daily Digest, July 17, 2018

PRISMVIEW, LLC ORDER AND CONSENT DECREE. Resolves an investigation into whether Prismview, LLC marketed LED signs used in digital billboards and other commercial and industrial applications, in violation of the Commission’s equipment marketing rules. Action by: Deputy Chief, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted: 2018-07-17 by Order/Consent Decree. (DA No. 18-572). EB. DA-18-572A1.pdf DA-18-572A1.txt

YAHAM LED USA, INC., ORDER AND CONSENT DECREE. Resolves an investigation into whether Yaham LED marketed LED signs used in digital billboards and other commercial and industrial applications, in violation of the Commission’s equipment marketing rules. Action by: Deputy Chief, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted: 2018-07-17 by Order/Consent Decree. (DA No. 18-656). EB. DA-18-656A1.pdf DA-18-656A1.txt